This is my Seventh entry in my gaming diary for Mass Effect (Xbox 360).
The short of it: A casual point-and-click gamer plays an RPG for the first time by herself.
The task: To play Mass Effect (the first one) in its entirety and to document her experiences along the way.
First-time reader and need context?
Update from Part 6 of the Gaming Diary:
On the planet Feros, the leader of the Zhu’s Hope, Fai Dan, tells Pepe Shep and crew to go to ExoGeni, a company that specializes in researching alien technology. This facility has become overrun by geth, so of course Shep needs to eradicate them! Into the trusty Mako the crew goes!
Chapter 4: Feros
Shep, Garrus and Wrex load into the Mako and head out to ExoGeni. The trip is made difficult by geth barricading themselves at entrance ways and tunnels. Meanwhile, we can hear some radio transmissions that sound like humans in ExoGeni. Sure enough, once inside, we find a small group of humans hiding out there. We learn they are under attack by geth and they have no idea why. The geth have set up cables around the facility to prevent communication with the outside.
We meet Ethan and Juliana. Ethan is a representative of ExoGeni and a bit of a d-bag. His feels responsible for protecting ExoGeni’s interests (and SECRETS!). Juliana is missing her daughter Lizbeth, a scientist working in the ExoGeni HQ. Shep offers to find Lizbeth. On their way out, Shep also picks up another mission from Gavin Hossle, a dude needing access to database information. Shep offers to retrieve what Gavin needs.
After killing some geth, Shep and crew find Lizbeth alone. She says that she is not sure what the geth are after here. We later learn from a VI computer that it is the thorian they are after; a plant / organism with telepathic capabilities. The thorian has the ability to emit spores that infect those that inhale it, making those infected under complete control of the plant. The thorian can even send pain signals telepathically to those infected. Turns out in the end, this thorian has been used in a very sinister way; ExoGeni has tested it on Fai Dan’s peeps at Zhu’s Hope. This explains why in the previous chapter, Shep runs into a guy acting very strangely at Zhu’s Hope (Ian Newstead). This guy was under the thorian’s influence.
As Shep explores ExoGeni, we get to see exactly what the geth were building – some sort of mother brain with tentacles. Shep and crew managed to kill it by using a steel trap door to cut off its main line.
Shep takes Lizbeth back to her mom, Juliana. Once there, we find Ethan freaking out, pointing a gun at Juliana. He knows about the experiments with the thorian happening on Zhu’s Hope. He was preventing anyone from leaving to go back to Zhu’s Hope. He told them Fai Dan’s people are “probably” dead. He knew full well they could be infected with whatever it is the thorian emits. Shep ends up shooting and killing Ethan when he refused to drop his weapon (wha?!)! The crew then hears from Joker on the Normandy; the people back at Zhu’s Hope are panicking! Time to go back there to handle the situation.
First thing on the agenda is to drive the crew around in that confounded 6 wheeler Mako. That thing is a pain in the ass. I’m running into walls while getting by butt kicked by geth. Glad the game didn’t have Wrex criticize Pepe’s driving like, “Dude, ya been up the pub or what?” Thankfully that tank takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’, ’cause when I saw that ambush of geth, all I did was mow them all down. Screw that shooting sh!t! It worked!
Then I became LOST!! So lost!
I spent the good part of an hour running around ExoGeni, trying to find my way out of that maze. For the most part, the game does things smartly, providing you with a doorway when there wasn’t one initially, or blocking access to a stairway to tell you, “don’t go there”. But this time, I encountered so many stairwells!! I was so lost!
It turned out to be my fault in the end…I hadn’t completed one last assignment (the trap door that chops the mother brain claw off). Once that was done, I could move on.
For the first time, I noticed the consequence of my actions in terms of Shep. Shep killing Ethan seemed a little surprising to me, and I think it had a lot to do with my dialogue choices. Just before he turned the gun on him, there were conversation choices that were actually greyed out – meaning, there were several dialogue choices displayed, but I could not access them all. Interesting! Makes me wonder what it was I chose previously to exclude those lines of conversation.
My next task is to head back to Zhu’s Hope. Who knows what I’ll find going back there! Until next time…